From birth, your doctor will check your newborn’s vital signs: their breathing, their heartbeat, the color of their skin, their reaction to stimulations and their movements.
This test, called the Apgar test, gives scores between 0 and 10. Most babies receive a score between 7 and 10. The test is run again five minutes later to verify the first result. It can improve significantly in the meantime.
Going back home
When you bring your baby home for the first time, it turns your world upside down and you usually feel helpless. Even if you had been feeling ready for a while, you will soon realize that your knowledge and your skills will be facing a huge challenge.
During your first weeks with your baby, you will experience a lot of different and intense emotions. Within a few days, you will go from being a childless woman to being a mother discovering a wonderful little being. Although they will probably be very quiet during the first days, you might be a little frazzled by all the efforts needed for this new learning experience.
And even if you consider the superhuman effort required by birth, you will understand that your baby is going through the biggest trauma of their life. Don’t be too hard on yourself and give yourself some time to adapt. Your new status of parent is about to hatch!
If this is your first child, you have everything to learn: how to feed them, how to hold them in your arms comfortably, how to pamper them, how to understand what they mean when they cry, etc.
Height and weight
If your baby was born at term, between the 37th and 42nd week of pregnancy, they will measure, on average, between 45 and 55 cm, the equivalent of 18 to 21 inches and their weight could vary between 2,500g and 4,300g (5 to 9 pounds).
Babies can loose weight during their first weeks of life. It is perfectly normal. In general, they lose 5% to 10% of their initial weight. This weight loss is caused by the shock of birth and by the small amounts of milk taken. Don’t worry, they will put their birth weight back on between their 8th and 15th day.
At birth, a baby can have a pink or purplish skin depending on their origins. Usually paler, their hands and feet can remain blue for over 48 hours after birth. We must give their body some time to adjust its temperature.
If their skin is mottled, it should get back to normal when their internal thermostat finds its balance.
You will soon notice that your baby’s skin is incredibly soft. Smooth and translucent in certain places, it is so thin that it shows their blood vessel network. Wrinkled in other places, it can start peeling.
When the baby is born, their skin in covered with the same white polish that used to protect them from the water in their mother’s womb. Their skin will absorb this substance, called vernix, during the following hours or the following days.
Some newborns are also covered in a small duvet called lanugo that will also disappear during their first weeks of life.